Need to supercharge your ministry volunteer program? Try these three proven ideas.

Forming and empowering liturgical volunteers is key to successful volunteer management. You must recruit, train, and retain parish members who possess the necessary gifts for particular ministries and are willing to use them to enhance the worship experience of the entire faith community.

Why is this important? Because a more vibrant program will give your lay ministers a greater sense of sacred purpose and responsibility, which will elevate the performance of their duties. They will take increased ownership of their roles and their importance in the liturgy. A stronger ministry volunteer program will also provide better retention of existing volunteers and attract eager new volunteers to ministry positions. And because these are ministries of service, an improved program will reap benefits for the entire church congregation as well.

Here, then, are three key ideas for improving your ministry volunteer program and for better engaging your volunteers:

  • Recruit via a network. Your best advertisement to draw in new volunteers should be your existing volunteers. Encourage your present liturgical ministers to reach out to their friends, families, and fellow church members and personally invite them to volunteer as well. Once the new recruits are on board, assign them to serve alongside more seasoned ministers so they can learn the ropes. This approach draws more church members to become involved, helps your volunteers feel more personally invested as part of a ministry team, and ensures that the “knowledge base” of the various liturgical duties is shared by many so it can be continually passed along to others – which also takes some stress away from you in your managerial role.

  • Train interactively. Liturgical ministry isn’t just “busy work” so that laypersons can feel more involved in the church: it’s a true act of service that should communicate the power and presence of God. Therefore, quality counts, so train them well at the outset and offer periodic “refresher” instruction a few times a year (even golf professionals often have coaches who help refine their technique regularly). But also be sure to invite your volunteer lay ministers to ask questions and make suggestions as well. Some of them might bring relevant professional expertise to the position, and giving them a voice also encourages them to take greater ownership of their duties. Their insights might help reveal what is working well and where things could be improved.

  • Ease the volunteer process for everyone. You can make everything work more smoothly for yourself and your volunteers with comprehensive ministry scheduling software like Ministry Scheduler Pro. With MSP, you can add your volunteers to a database, build your liturgy schedule with the number and type of volunteers needed, and assign people to particular services. Volunteers can use the website or the mobile app to access their schedules, update their preferences and availability, request or accept a sub, and sign up for empty positions. MSP also makes it easier for church members to express interest in helping out and simplifies the new volunteer enrollment process. When you simplify the volunteer process, you’ll wind up processing more volunteers!

Let’s face it: every volunteer program has room to improve, whether through a better recruiting and volunteer experience or by introducing handy new tools like MSP to simplify your ministry scheduling and management tasks. So take time to evaluate your current program periodically and resolve to implement better practices on an ongoing basis.

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